Celebrate International Women's Day with Beer | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Celebrate International Women's Day with Beer

With a hazy pale ale, Bend's Pink Boots Society clarifies women belong in beer

It's a bit wild to think — perhaps to admit —that the very idea of celebrating International Women's Day with a commemorative beer could be in some way anathema to a global day of elevating women in the workforce (and beyond). But take it from the dozens of women in Central Oregon who are members of the Pink Boots Society's Bend Chapter: Your locally made adult beverage very likely involved a woman's touch, be it mashing at a brewery, racking at a winery or helming a distillery's marketing department.

click to enlarge Celebrate International Women's Day with Beer
Courtesy Pink Boots Society

Pink Boots Society, an organization with the mission to assist, inspire and encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry through education, has been supporting collaborative brew days on International Women's Day (March 8) to create a beer benefitting the national organization and the local chapter, which will be available on draft later in April.

Valarie Doss, co-owner of Bevel Craft Brewing, currently leads the chapter comprised of nearly 50 women. Christina LaRue, the executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild and local Bendite, is the financial liason. She said the Pink Boots beer is the largest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds used for fermentation scholarships nationally and education locally. Portland and the Willamette Valley also have their own chapters.

"We're all fighting our own battle, but we're not alone," says Doss. "The Pink Boots Society is great for networking and human connections that we all missed during the pandemic." She noted she had recently taken a tour of Bend's newest brewery, Van Henion, co-owned by Dana Henion who led the women —including not just brewers but social media managers, accountants, bartenders and more on a tour. "She's so passionate about what she does," adds Doss. "Van Henion has the same struggles and learning process."

Last year's beer was brewed at Bevel. The year before it was made at Deschutes. This year, the brew day will take place at Spider City Brewing, Bend's only all-female owned brewery, thanks to twins Melanie and Michele Betti and Tammy Treat.

Melanie Betti, Spider City's master brewer, said she wasn't aware of Pink Boots when the trio began building Spider City. "Last year, we were invited to the collaboration brew and decided to be a part of the organization."

The beer that Betti, along with any other members who are interested in being hands-on, is brewing will be a hazy pale ale. Crucially, it will be 100% hopped with a proprietary blend of hops created by Yakima Chief Hops. This is Yakima Chief's sixth year collaborating with Pink Boots, with the beneficiary blend changing each year. This year's Pink Boots Blend consists of Ekuanot and Loral hops plus an experimental varietal currently dubbed HBC 586. The resulting beer will likely offer an aroma of citrus and stone fruits with a woody, herbal top note. It will certainly be available at Spider City's brewery tasting room and likely at other accounts either associated with members (Bevel, for starters) as well as those that support the society's mission.

In addition to the Pink Boots hop blend, the beer will feature malted barley donated by craft-focused malting companies Brewers Supply Group and Prairie Malt and yeast donated by Portland-based Imperial Yeast. The brew day, like other chapter gatherings, will offer conversations about raw materials fermentation specialists rely on.

Concludes Betti, "As with any business, there are always hurdles to overcome. In the brewing industry you need to stand on your own and trust your instincts...Women have a lot to offer in the brewing industry. While we may not be able to 'lift' the same amount as our male counterparts, we do the same tasks day to day in the brewery."

In fact, there's a new documentary called Girl Beer that "highlights the shared experiences of women in this industry and the biases surrounding it." Doss says she is planning on screening it, ideally as this year's Pink Boots Society hazy pale is released.

- Find Pink Boots' Bend chapter on Instagram @PinkBootsBend.

About The Author

Brian Yaeger

Brian Yaeger is a beer author (including "Oregon Breweries"), beer fest producer and beer-tasting instructor at COCC. Because he’s working on doughnut authorship, you’ll find he occasionally reviews our local doughnut scene. Yes, he absolutely floats all summer long with a beer in one hand and a doughnut in the...
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